Ettrick, Teviot, Tweed, Whiteadder, Blackadder, Eddleston, Jed Water...
There is a certain music to the names of the rivers and tributaries that pass through the forests and valleys of the Scottish Borders. But what's even more musical is listening to them rush, burble and trickle alongside you while on a winding river walk.
And if you'd like to start exploring the wonderful waterways of this region, then summer is an ideal time. Because whether it's in the freshness of the morning while the birds are chirping, or on a warm and hazy afternoon, or in the cool of evening when sunset hits the water, you'll soon find yourself enchanted by the tranquility of it all.
With this in mind, here are four lovely riverside walks to enjoy in the Scottish Borders...
1. Selkirk and Ettrick Water Circular
This gentle looping walk gives you a chance to see some of Selkirk, an old mill town in the heart of the Borders, as well as the mills themselves. The route is very accessible as the Ettrick Water offers easy to access paths, plus there are various artworks along the way (meaning you'll get to be a bit of a culture vulture too).
You will begin at Selkirk Leisure Centre, following the river path downstream until you reach a small gate to a woodland area. Next you will cross a ramped bridge across the river leading to Victoria Park, where you can relax on a bench overlooking the water. Finally, you will end your walk at the leisure centre again, passing the mills along the way. Find a route map here.
Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty level: Easy
Towns and villages: Selkirk
2. Ninewells and Whiteadder Water Walk
This pleasant route takes in the hillside village of Chirnside in Berwickshire, passing along the Whiteadder Water (which flows into the reservoir of the same name) and landmarks such as Ninewells House.
You will begin at Crosshill Car Park in the town of Duns, heading down the hill past a 12th century church to enjoy panoramic views of the Merse (March Lands). Next you will pass the village of Chirnside, the 16th century Ninewells Dovecot and Ninewells House, childhood home of the famous philosopher, David Hume. In fact this route is actually the beginning of the David Hume Walk to Auchencrow, should you fancy a longer stroll.
Bear in mind that you'll cross over various terrains, including pavements, roads, grassy paths and farm tracks, so make sure to wear watertight shoes. Find a route map here.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Difficulty level: Easy
Towns and villages: Duns, Chirnside
3. River Teviot Circular from Kelso to Roxburgh Castle
This grassy riverside route will take you from the market town of Kelso to the atmospheric ruins of Roxburgh Castle (rumoured to be King Arthur's Camelot). It is also part of the Borders Abbey Way.
You will begin at Kelso Abbey, crossing Rennies Bridge over the Tweed before taking a second bridge over the Teviot. Once you reach the river path you'll see the remains of the castle, which overlooks the junction of the Teviot and Tweed and was once a former royal residence of the kings of Scotland.
You will continue walking along the river, where you can see abundant birdlife like kingfisher, sandpiper and heron. Next, you will pass through farmland to Roxburgh village, crossing a former viaduct to a disused railway line. After a while, you will be able to spot four different forts to the north: Smailholm Tower, Floors Castle, Roxburgh Castle and Hume Castle. Finally, you will pass through woodland (watch out, there can be deep puddles) before returning to your starting point. Take note that there also will be stiles and steps to navigate on this walk. Find a route map here.
Distance: Six miles
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Towns and villages: Kelso, Roxburgh
4. Tweed Walk to Lyne
Do you enjoy vigorous hikes with plenty of landmarks? Then try out on this circular route between Peebles and the small village of Lyne. Along the way you will see a 14th century castle, old tower, viaduct and much more. This route also takes in three waterways: the Tweed and two of its tributaries, the Lyne and Manor waters. It is also a birdwatcher's dream.
You will begin at Greenside Car Park in Peebles, then join the Tweed Walk river path. Next, you'll pass Neidpath Castle and the viaduct, before heading along a dismantled railway line which curves above the river. At this point, you can rest for a bit to enjoy the beautiful views of the Tweed Valley and Tweedsmuir Hills. Next, the route leads to a woodland stretch that is known for its dreamy flora and fauna in summertime, including song birds and butterflies fluttering among the ash and sycamore trees.
Following this you will cross a bridge over the Lyne Water, where you can look out for grey wagtails and dippers. As you walk further along the lane, you will pass another bridge over the Tweed and an area known for its woodpeckers. After this you will pass the 16th century Barns Tower —part of the Barns House estate — before strolling down a graceful avenue of mature limes and poplars (keep your eyes peeled for the pheasants that sometimes rest in the snowberry bushes).
Finally, you will pass the Manor Water, Manor Sware Woodland and an old railway tunnel, before crossing over Fotheringham Bridge into Peebles again. What an adventure! (Remember to wear strong shoes or boots as this walk can be muddy). Find a route map here.
Distance: Seven miles
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Towns and villages: Peebles, Lyne
Hopefully you've found some sightseeing inspiration in these charming riverside walks. There are many more to experience across the Scottish Borders, so get exploring...
Planning a Borders getaway this summer? Roam around the countryside by day and bask in a hot tub by night in a five-star Airhouses holiday lodge.
You might also like:
Where are the Best Lochs and Reservoirs in the Scottish Borders?
Ancient Wells and Sacred Springs of the Scottish Borders.
Three Unmissable Scottish Borders Coastal Walks.
Airhouses is more than an award-winning holiday escape — it’s an experience you will never forget. Explore woodland walks, hiking trails and the peaceful village of Oxton (plus Edinburgh is less than an hour away). And don’t forget to say hello to our friendly animal family of alpacas, goats, donkeys, pigs, Shetland ponies and more.